Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Are you listening?

In addition to setting goals for ourselves at the start of each year, J and I also like to choose a quote or phrase to guide our throughts in the new year.

In 2009, we worked at being present. It was an important goal, and it was one we still have to stop and remind ourselves of. It is easy for Type A, perfectionist, anxious types to get wrapped up in thinking about where they should be, what they should be doing instead of simply enjoying time with each other, with friends, and with family. It was important and necessary for our health in 2009 that we internalize this idea, but it is still important that we remember it's importance today.

In 2010, we took the next step--not only did we work to be present, but we worked to be gentle with ourselves and others. I talked a little bit about this last week in the 2010 wrap-up post, where I shared the lesson I learned about being gentle with myself. But, I still have work to do in the other half of the statement--be gentle with others. I really see this going hand-in-hand with being present. How many times do I brush someone off or walk away from a conversation realizing I've no idea what we talked about or how they answered a question? It's because too frequently, I'm not present. I've already moved on to another question, another conversation in my head.

So, admitting that our phrases for 2009 and 2010 will still crop up in 2011, J and I have selected a new one. Again, it is a good next step, as it requires both presence and gentleness with others to be successful. This year, we are taking a phrase from our Sunday church services--Be Alert, for God is a whisper.

While we both grew up in the church, this whole faith thing is still fairly new to us. We spent years rationalizing away what I called the Church of the Puffy White Cloud. So the idea of listening, looking for advice, support, and guidance from God in our day-to-day lives is a stretch. Bute we know that He isn't found only in red letter words; He is in the words of those around us every day. This year, we hope to be alert to those conversations.

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